Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Cruze Is Hitting On All Cylinders As March Cruze Sales Exceed 18,000

Cruze sales totaled 18,018 in March and General Motors said Chevy Cruze sales exceeded 50,000 during the first quarter of 2011.

Fueled by over 18,000 vehicles shipped to dealers last month, the Lordstown, Ohio -built upscale compact vehicle surged to the top of the GM car chart in the first quarter of the year at 50,205, the automaker said Friday

The total paled next to the 92,445 sales posted by Chevy's Silverado 1500 pickup truck, but it returned the Lordstown Ohio Complex to its glory days of producing GM's top-selling car after years of trailing the fullsize Chevrolet Impala and midsize Chevrolet Malibu.

The Impala was a close second in sales for the quarter at 49,541, while the Malibu was third at 48,745, but the Cruze is expected to be Chevy's top seller by year's end, Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, said on a conference call.

About half of Cruze sales in March were "conquest" sales - luring buyers from competing models, such as perennial segment leaders Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, GM said. "The Cruze is helping us keep customers and bring in new ones," Johnson said.

The Cruze also sold better than the Cobalt in California and other states where GM normally finds it hard to win small-car buyers, Chevrolet Vice President of Sales and Service Alan Batey said.

In addition, Cruze sales came at an average transaction price close to $19,000, which was $2,000 above the Civic and $3,000 above the Corolla, Batey said. "That tells you customers are putting more options in the vehicle," Johnson said.

Johnson credited the Cruze for helping GM double its share to 11.4 percent from 5.7 percent of the compact car market, which he called the fastest-growing segment. "With oil hovering around $105 (a barrel,) we see a bit of a shift to compact cars," he said, adding the higher oil price isn't causing customers to delay purchases. "We think the economy will stay on its current course of slow, steady recovery."

The Lordstown Ohio Complex, which launched the Cruze Sept. 8 as GM's brightest hope hit a new production high for the car of 26,353 units. It built 22,618 in February and 22,314 in January.

Jeff Gordon Chevrolet recently placed an order for 100 Chevrolet Cruze and special arrangements have been made for customers to color & option available Chevrolet Cruze currently in production.

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